It’s likely that if you have tried to declutter with family members you’ll have stories of arguments, disagreements and frustration. It’s hard!
When we end up with more than we can manage, it’s not as simple as opening the bin, getting a box for donations and starting to stick stuff in that’s not needed, used or loved. We all have different views on what is considered clutter, what’s loved, what is considered excess. We have different thresholds on how much stuff we can easily manage.
If you can relate and you don’t want to hire a Professional Organiser, here are some tips to help you move forward:
Start with easier stuff
Look for areas and categories of stuff in your home that are easiest to sort through for all involved. Build up to the harder stuff. If someone is less invested, don’t start with their personal belongings, this would be one of the last areas to tackle.
Divide and conquer
Separate out items that belong or are used by just one person. Let each person go through their own stuff on their own and then look at joint items.
If you argue over whether to keep an item, the chances are only one of you has an emotional attachment to the item and it is not recognised by the other person. Put it aside to chat about later when you have both calmed down (keep working through the easier stuff). When everyone feels calmers, talk about it, what is the emotional attachment, what are the reasons behind wanting to keep and get rid of the item. Remain open and listen to what the other person is saying. If you feel too much is being kept and it’s impacting your living situation, consider enlisting assistance from a therapist who can help work through the situation.
If you can’t come to a unanimous decision, consider how to get a result without hurting feelings. One suggestion would be to make a deal that if the item hasn’t been used by a certain date (depending on what it is – 3 months, 6 months or a year), that it will be donated, sold, recycled or thrown. If the items are small, store them in a sealable container labelled with the date you stored it and the future date you will make your decision on. If an item gets used, it is returned to its ‘home’. Make a note on your calendar, on the decided date – what action you will take and where the items are stored.
Follow a simple process
Making decisions is challenging enough, without getting into a muddle over how to do it. Break the process down into smaller manageable steps and be systematical. Our Declutter your Life video series walks you through the process on how to successfully clear and organise.
Take a break
Don’t forget to schedule in breaks. If you start to get tired, don’t keep going, take a break – going for a walk and getting fresh air is a great way to rejuvenate. Arguments are easily started when one or both of you are tired.
Could someone else help?
Having someone who is not emotionally invested in the stuff can sometimes be helpful. But it needs to be the right person. It’s important to find someone you trust, who is not judgmental and can be unbiased so other family members won’t feel ganged up on. Do you have a mutual friend, who is not overly opinionated? They need to be supportive and help you stay motivated towards YOUR desired outcome. You could even repay them by doing the same for them.
What is it costing you?
If none of the above works, compare how it feels living with the clutter and any disorganisation against paying to get assistance. If your thoughts are continuously filled with thinking about the mess, it’s impacting your daily living and you haven’t been able to solve the problem on your own, what are you going to do? Most Professional Organisers will give you a free initial consultation to discuss your needs, it’s a great way to meet the person and see if they are a good fit for you and your family.
Don’t delay, start today